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MHA Order Directing Employers to Pay Wages During Lockdown, Not Applicable to Workers Who Were Unemployed or Unpaid Before the Lockdown: Bombay HC

Bombay High Court has held that order passed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs under the Disaster Management Act directing all states and union territories to ensure that all the employers shall make payment of wages to their workers without any deduction during the lockdown, is not applicable to those workers who remained unpaid and unemployed for a long period before the lockdown. Division bench of Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Riyaz Chagla heard together the writ petition filed by a heavy machinery manufacturing company from Pune named M/s Premier Limited against an order of the Industrial Court directing payment of back wages to the workers who have not been paid since May 2019 along with the writ petition filed by Premier Employees Union seeking compliance of MHA’s order dated March 29, 2020 and subsequent state GR dated March 31, 2020. However, Court modified the order of the Industrial Court dated March 20, 2020 to the extent that workers will now be paid half their wages (instead of full wages as directed by the Industrial Court) on or before the tenth day of each month effective from March 1, 2020 till disposal of complaint.

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